Solar panels and Agriculture:Solar panels are being used for agriculture in many countries around the world. The main purpose of using solar panels here is to harness green energy which will then be converted into electricity and stored in batteries, or sometimes directly fed into AC sockets. Once you have solar panels connected to your land, use them for whatever purposes you want. You can either use them for your own benefit or you can also sell them to green energy companies. The main advantage of having these solar panels is that they are environmentally friendly and do not harm the surroundings in any way, as other power generators like coal-based thermal plants would.
Types of Solar Panel for Your Agricultural Land:There are many types of solar panels available in the market for you to use. Some are suitable for certain areas while some are just not preferred because they are unsuitable for that particular region. The major factor is the amount of rainfall in an area since solar panels cannot withstand much water or moisture. It will be a very bad idea to have solar panels around your agricultural land if it gets heavy rainfall throughout the year. Some of the different types of solar panels for your agricultural land are: There are many types of solar panels, each of them suitable for different requirements.
Mono crystalline solar panels:Monocrystalline solar panels are used for home use. They have a high energy conversion rate of around 15 to 17%. They are made up of silicon which has strong bonding properties. The cells in these panels are square-shaped and the front surface looks dark blue due to its low reflectance, whereas the back surface is silver.
List of Uses in Agriculture:Monocrystalline solar panels are used in large farms for generating a significant amount of electricity. They are installed in large numbers to generate more power. These panels on agricultural land can rotate at an angle of 90 degrees so that they capture the maximum amount of sunlight. Pros and Cons for agricultural land:
Pros:– They provide efficient and constant power as they can rotate to adjust to the sunlight. – Their efficiency is not affected by the weather conditions. – Are very long lasting and durable which makes them a good choice for agricultural green power generation as they require little or no maintenance for years.
Cons:– These panels are expensive as compared to the other types of solar panels. – These panels are made up of silicon which has strong bonding properties. This makes them hard to install and hard to replace if any damage occurs.
Poly crystalline solar panels:Poly crystalline solar panels are the most common type of panel used for home use. They have a high energy conversion rate of around 13 to 15%. These cells are rectangular in shape and they contain two or more silicon crystals that are smaller than those found in Mono Crystalline. The front surface is blue in colour with a grey back surface due to its high reflectance.
Poly crystalline List of Uses in Agriculture:Poly crystalline solar panels are very common in agricultural lands. These panels are installed individually to power up greenhouses, barns, ventilation fans etc. They can also be used to power your house if you own a large piece of agricultural land. The Poly Crystalline Solar Panels can rotate on an axis at an angle of 90 degrees so that they can adjust to the sunlight. Pros and Cons for agricultural land:
Pros:– Efficient due to their high reflection rates of around 80 % of the solar radiation they receive. – Their installation is easy and therefore replacement of damaged panels is simple too. These panels require less maintenance. – Durable, long lasting and require low maintenance. – Have a high energy conversion rate of around 15 to 17%.
Cons:– They are less efficient as compared to the mono crystalline panels due to their lower reflection rates from 70% to 80%. – These panels have a lower life span as compared to other types of solar panels. – They are slightly expensive as compared to the mono crystalline panels.
Thin film solar panels:Thin film solar panels are also used for home use. They have a low energy conversion rate of around 8 to 11%. These cells are made up of layers upon layers of photovoltaic material i.e. silicon, amorphous silicon which is in the form of a plastic like substance and CIGS (Copper-indium-gallium-selenide). They are flexible in nature due to which they can be installed at any angle on the surface of your land. The front surface is blue in color with a grey back surface due to its high reflectance.
Thin film List of Uses in Agriculture:Thin film panels are used to power up agricultural machinery and equipment such as tractors, irrigation pumps etc. They can be easily installed on the roof of barns and other machinery. Tractors, forestry equipment, ventilation fans etc. can be powered up using thin film panels due to their high durability and long life spans. They convert sunlight into electricity which powers these machines. Their installation is difficult as compared to the crystalline cells but still easier as compared to the Mono Crystalline cells. Excessive heat is not easily produced by thin-film panels as they are made up of amorphous silicon which generates low amounts of heat. Pros and Cons for agricultural land:
Pros:– These panels are flexible in nature as compared to the crystalline cells which makes them easier to install. – Their easy installation does not require labor or professional help. These panels can be installed by anyone without requiring any special training. – These panels are the least expensive as compared to crystalline panels and Poly Crystalline cells due to their lower energy conversion rates of around 8 to 11%.
Cons:– Have a low conversion rate of around 8 to 11% as compared to the other types of solar panels. – Are not suitable for home use as their installation is difficult and they require professional help. – Require a lot of space to install them as they are bulky in nature due to which they can’t be installed on roofs that have limited free space.
Go Solar:Solar panels, both thin film and crystalline cells can be used to generate electricity in farms. The solar energy that is absorbed by the solar panel is then converted into electricity which powers up all machines and equipment within your farm. Thin-film cells are less efficient as compared to crystalline and Poly Crystalline cells due to their low energy conversion rate of around 8 to 11%. Due to this reason, thin-film cells are used for farm machinery and equipment which are powered up with less electricity. Due to their high efficiency in converting solar energy into electricity, crystalline panels are mostly used for home use. However busy farmers can install them on their roof tops as well but require professional help to do so. The use of solar panels and their installation is oftentimes not considered as a means of power generation on agricultural land due to its high cost and expense. However if we look at the bigger picture, these costs can be easily recovered within 4 or 5 years by saving money on your electricity bills after installing solar energy panels on your farm. • Solar water Splitters: Solar water splitters are used in farms where clean drinking water is scarce. They are basically panels with a large amount of cells packed together to soak up more sun light. They have an energy conversion rate of around 13 to 15%. The panel is made up of two large glass plates which are linked together by metal strips that absorb the sun light. • Solar Machinery: Solar machinery is used in farms to irrigate the soil and aid crop growth. They can be powered up using solar panels which generate electricity that powers up the motors of these machines. Thin-film panels are mostly preferred for this purpose due to their flexible nature and ease of installation on roofs, barns etc. • Solar street lighting: Solar panels can be used to power street lights and parking lights in your agricultural land. They have a high energy conversion rate of around 15%. The panel is made up of 36 cells which are linked together to soak up more sunlight. These panels emit bright white light which is similar to the light emitted from a bulb. • Solar Vehicle: One of the more interesting uses of solar panels is to power up a vehicle. They have a high energy conversion rate of around 20%. In order to power up a vehicle using these panels, one will need a large number of cells that can be installed on the rooftop or on barns. These panels are also used in golf carts and electric-powered vehicles. • Solar water pump: You can also use solar panels to power up your agricultural water pumps. These panels have an energy conversion rate of around 13%. They are made up of 36 cells which are linked together to soak up more sunlight. The panel is flexible in nature and thus you can attach it to the surface of your land. You can use it to power up water pumps for irrigation or drinking purposes.
Best Solar Panel for Agricultural Land:Solar panels are normally made up of crystalline cells which have a high energy conversion rate. However, in agricultural land you can also consider using thin film panels as they are flexible and too bulky for roofs with limited free space. You can install them on barns or under trees where they will not be affected by the strength of sun light due to their low energy conversion rate.
Benefits of using solar for agricultural land:One of the biggest benefits of using solar panels on your land is that these are environment friendly. They have no negative impact or effect on the soil, water bodies etc. If you install them on the roof tops where they will not affect any other agricultural activity then you can expect to come across several benefits including reduced electricity bills, immediate return of investment, reduced carbon and nitrous oxide emissions and environmental pollution.
The better way to use solar energy:You can also sell your extra electricity generated through these panels which you can feed into the grid system. This will save you money as instead of paying for the power you generate, it is now being paid to you by the power board thereby leaving you with a profit. You can also take help of solar designers who will offer their services pro bono in order to design your panels and installation procedure so that maximum sun light absorption is possible which powers up your machinery, water pump etc. Solar energy has various benefits for farmers apart from saving money on electricity bills. These include reduced carbon and nitrous oxide emissions, reduced environmental pollution and reduced soil erosion. These benefits are not only limited to the area where you install your solar panels but also extend to areas around and downstream. Using solar panels in agricultural land has also proved beneficial for people living in remote areas where they do not have access to a conventional power supply. It is one of the best sources of alternative power which is environmentally friendly and does not harm the soil or water bodies.
How does a solar panel work (Additional information)?Before we go any further, allow me to explain how does a solar panel work and what is the photovoltaic effect? If you already know that, then feel free to skip this part. The photovoltaic effect is when photons (light particles) strike the surface of a material called semiconductor. The impact of these particles on this semiconductor results in ejection of electrons from the atoms which are present in it. If you connect this semiconductor with an electric circuit, these free electrons will flow through the circuit and create an electric current. This is how a solar panel works; it captures light particles (photons) and converts them into electricity (electricity is nothing but of course electric current). Photovoltaic Effect: Photon impacts can either be direct or indirect. If they are direct, then the light particles strike a semiconductor directly and result in an ejection of electrons. This is what happens when you expose a solar panel to sunlight. On the other hand, if they are indirect, then some sort of medium or substance is needed to transfer photons into semiconductors. This is what happens when you use fiber optics to transmit sunlight onto a solar panel.
- There are three different types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film.
- Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient in converting sunlight to electricity.
- Polycrystalline panels are second-most efficient, followed by thin film.
- Thin film panels are the least efficient but are good for outdoor equipment where space is limited and flexibility is required.
- Solar panels can be used for your agricultural land to power machinery, streetlights and solar water pumps.
- Installing a polycrystalline or monocrystalline solar panel on an agricultural land requires professional help. However, thin film panels require little space and time to install thus can be installed by homeowner themselves without any assistance.
Closing thoughts:You can choose the best type of solar panel for your agricultural land depending on how much space you have available, what types of machinery and infrastructure are required to be powered up etc. Solar panels also require professional installation so it is advised to hire a local contractor who has experience in installing solar panels or contact your utility company. After they are installed, the solar panels will need to be cleaned regularly to ensure they are operating efficiently.
Where can solar panels be installed?
Solar panels can be installed anywhere on your agricultural land. They can either be used in a green house or they can also be mounted on the outer surface of the building to generate electricity for home use. The best place to install them is where there is a good amount of sun light. Since solar panels need a lot of sunlight to charge, they should be installed in a place where they can get a lot of direct sunlight throughout the day.
What does it take to install them?
It takes around 2 days with 3 people to install solar panels for your agricultural purposes. You will require 4 to 5 persons to install them. You will first need to clear the area of any vegetation or trees that are obstructing the sunlight from getting down on your solar panels. The next step is to level the ground where you want your solar panels to be installed. This step is of utmost importance as it ensures that all cells in a panel have equal voltage supply.
The next step is to install the mounting feet, which fix the panels in place and ensure that they face the sun. Then you need to set up your inverter and interconnection wiring and finally connect all panels together with a junction box.
What are the cost implications?
It costs approximately $300 to install panels that can produce 20 watts of electricity. You will require 36 cells to convert one watt of sunlight into electricity. With this amount you will be able to power up your home appliances like lights, fans, television sets and computer sets.
How much money do you save?
Solar panels have a life expectancy of around 30 years. The energy you save throughout this time equals to the cost that you spend on installation i.e. $300. You will be able to generate free electricity for your home or farm use by using these panels.
What are the environmental benefits?
The major benefit of using solar panels is that they produce zero carbon emissions. They do not require any fuel to generate electricity which means that you will be contributing towards saving our environment and reducing global warming.
What are the maintenance costs?
Solar panels have no major maintenance cost. The only thing you need to do is wipe them down with a soft fabric on a daily basis so that they can remain dust free which will enhance their performance. Moreover there are no moving parts involved in solar panels thus they require little or no maintenance.
What are the major factors to consider?
The major factor to consider for using solar panels is the amount of sun light that your location receives. If you live in a place where there is not much sun light throughout the year, then these panels will not function properly since they only work on direct sunlight. Secondly, they are very bulky and require a lot of space. If you have a limited supply of free space then installing them will pose a problem for you. Lastly, they are expensive to install and require a skilled person to carry out the job successfully.
Who can use solar panels?
Anyone who lives in an area with plenty of sunshine throughout the year can consider using these panels for their agricultural purposes. They are also beneficial to people who live in areas where electricity supply is limited since they can generate free power for their home use by using solar panels.
What other types of renewable energy use are used in agriculture?
Solar panels are an example of one type of renewable technology that can be used in your farm or home to generate free electricity. Other renewable energies such as wind and hydro power can also be used at your home or farm for the same purpose.
What is the difference between solar panels and solar water heating systems?
Solar water heating systems use sunlight to heat up water for your home or farm’s running purposes. These are more suitable for providing hot water requirements, whereas solar panels are ideal for generating electricity that can be used in multiple appliances at home or on your farm.